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Weekends With Alex Witt

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Israel 16, Us 8, Benghazi 6, Jerusalem 6, Washington 6, Garth 5, Fbi 5, Alex Witt 5, United States 4, Susan Rice 4, U.s. 4, New York 4, Iran 3, Florida 3, Nbc 3, Boehner 3, John Boehner 3, America 3, Chris Christie 3, Harry Reid 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    November 17, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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of the president. that is the best new diplomatic thing in the world today. "weekends with alex witt" starts now. on the brink. fighting escalates in the middle east. what's the u.s. role if it turns into a ground war? we discuss it next. let's make a deal. the latest in talks to avoid the fiscal cliff. should we believe lawmakers will get it done and get it done soon? new twists. the two women behind the falls of america's top spy and how they ended up at the white house on more than one occasion. the saga continues. good morning, everyone, welcome to "weekends with alex witt," we're going to get to what's happening right now out there as we have breaking news on the escalating and deadly crisis in the middle east as it enters its fourth day. overnight explosions could be seen, you see them there, over the gaza skyline. israeli officials say a rocket from gaza injured three soldiers today. israel expanded its air assault,
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bombing the prime minister's compound and other official buildings. the assault also killed a hamas commander. in israel troops are gathering at the border where many roads into gaza are closed. the military is ready for a ground assault with just an hour's notice, and the u.s. positioned the war ship "iwo jima" nearby but the location is classified. the egyptian prime minister visited gaza yesterday and prepared to mediate a truce. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon is expected to visit next week. the widening scope of the assault sparking fears of a violent new chapter in the arab israeli conflict. forces are launching rockets back and forth in the gaza strip and israel. yesterday one missile was aimed right at jerusalem. nbc news foreign correspondent is live for us in gaza. that jerusalem angle, that had not been seen for quite some time. let's get to what's happening right now around you. >> good morning, alex. yeah, we can -- let me bring you up to date on the air strikes here. according to palestinian health officials the death toll from israel's three-day attacks on
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gaza has risen to 40 palestinians killed, among them eight children, two women, and according to palestinian military factions, including the military wing, there were four palestinian fighters that were killed overnight. so there's no indication, really, that the violence is slowing down. you talk about the incident that took place with rockets landing near jerusalem and near tel aviv. that is certainly a game changer from the israeli perspective. that is what many palestinians here are particularly concerned about. there are thousands of israeli soldiers that have amassed onto the border and the fear here is that a ground invasion could be imminent. we understand that egyptian officials are trying to mediate a truce of some kind. yesterday's visit by the prime minister did not bear any fruit. today, the tunisian foreign minister has arrived in gaza. he, himself, is here to express solidarity more so than he is actually to try to negotiate any kind of truce. so, the dynamics of what's at play, and the political and military front is still very much one of tension, one of anxiety, and one that is escalating rapidly. in terms of the humanitarian
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situation in gaza, the 1.5 million people living here feel very much trapped. everyone we speak to, they've survived wars in the past, but they're very much gripped by a sense of horror, and a sense of fear as to what may lie ahead in the coming days. there's no indication that there is going to be a letup on either side in the near future. alex? >> okay. ayman thank you for that. let's get some perspective on the crisis. to do that i'm joined by colonel jack jacobs, msnbc military analyst. and colonel, with reports of israeli troops amassing along the border there, they can move within an hour's notice, is there a danger this is going to turn into a ground assault? >> oh, sure. we only have to remember when israel invaded lebanon, southern lebanon not long ago and that turned out to be a big mess, because it was a poor-planned, even more poorly executed. this is much more difficult. people's vision of gaza is that it's this desert and so on.
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no. as ayman said it's 1.5 million people, all packed into an urban area. extremely difficult ter plain which to maneuver. very, very hard to fight in. and if israel goes in there it's liable to be quite a mess. so i think although it's always possible this could turn into a wider conflict on the ground, israel is probably going to think about restraining. >> okay. we have positioned the warship "iwo jima" somewhere nearby. what extent would the united states get involved? >> well, we have frequently been involved by providing command and control, awacs, helping them control air strikes and air space and so on. but anything further i think we're unlikely to be involved. the one way we might get involved, if there's -- if it widens so that iran, who has patrol boats in the gulf, decides that it's going to take this opportunity to start shooting the place up, then we will get involved, because heavily in the gulf. >> it has been suggested that hamas is taking these actions,
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this whole back and forth, to sort of divert attention away from iran's nuclear program right now. does that make sense to you? >> no, it doesn't. iran's going to carry on, has carried on, with or without hamas. you asked if there is a relationship between the two. intellectually and militarily, and all the rest of that stuff. but these two incidents are not related, in my view. iran has been doing this sort of stuff for a long time, with or without hamas. i don't think they're related at all. >> okay. more from you in just a moment. so stay right there. one reaction today to the testimony of former general david petraeus on the attack on the u.s. mission in benghazi, libya. petraeus was hidden from view as he went to capitol hill to testify. but republican and democratic lawmakers say petraeus made clear that the cia assessment of terrorism was secret and could not be used in public by u.n. ambassador susan rice. >> general petraeus, whose briefing was comprehensive, was
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added to our ability to make judgments about what has clearly a failure of intelligence. ambassador rice used the unclassified talking points. the unclassified. so she did completely the appropriate thing. >> nbc's mike vigor ra is live at the white house for us. >> good morning, alex. >> this back and forth we just listened to, does this end the dispute about what was said about the attacks in benghazi? >> i doubt that very seriously. it's tenored the political realm as well as the foreign policy and national security realm, and while harry reid, the democratic leader of the senate, the majority leader in the senate, has shot down republican suggestions that there should be a watergate-style joint committee, a select committee in the parlance of washington, to look into the benghazi attacks, of course, and september 11th that left four americans dead including the american ambassador, ambassador stevens, there's always the house of representatives, and certainly,
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their questions, they still have many questions about what they do as conflicting tell about that testimony or about that appearance that susan rice gave almost five days after those attacks on september 16th when she said this was a spontaneous event that began as a result or reaction to that anti-muslim video that inflamed passions throughout the muslim world, and morphed into something much more sinister. you saw those two senators there today, senator conrad, many other senators that we spoke to yesterday, said that the problem was is that some of the information that talked about the nature of the attacks, the terrorist nature of the attacks was classified. susan rice said what she could say, what she was told to say by the intelligence community when she made that appearance. so a little air taken out of the balloon yesterday, no question about it. but i don't think we've heard the last of this controversy, alex. >> certainly we're going to pick up with it with colonel jack jacobs right now. okay the back and forth here. the gop suggesting, colonel, that the discrepancy in testimony is the result of political motivation. you've got the white house saying, no, this is because of
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genuine national security concern. where do you lie on that? >> most of the people i talked to say that there was incontrovertible evidence that this was a premedicated attack at benghazi and that the white house, towards the end of a very, very difficult campaign, political campaign, for the presidency, stripped away that notion and instead presented a more sanguine, a relaxed, a more easily consumed analysis, and that was that it was the result of a -- of a spontaneous attack. >> but -- but do you have -- would you have shared national security concerns had you been in on these briefings? >> there was no national -- there was no classified national security component to this. this is the white house going back to rewrite exactly what happened. the fact of the matter is that anybody with any military experience could see that when you have small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars in a combined arms attack it is
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deliberate. to say otherwise and to say that there was a national security concern about releasing that information is actually quite -- >> okay, how about the bigger story. might that be that the united states needs to provide more protection for their diplomats in -- in areas that would require that? >> well, it would be nice to provide as much protection as we possibly can. but there's just so much that we can do. the fact of the matter is that benghazi was completely different. you had the ambassador going to an area that was unsecured, by anybody, in a place that was still undergoing a violent revolution and not a smart thing to do. there was some information yesterday about general petraeus, talking about agreeing that there were national security concerns and that's what kept the information from being released. my view is that general petraeus was a good company man and decided to go ahead and say what he was -- it was suggested that he did say. like mike says, there will be a lot more on this later that you can bet. >> okay. that means we'll have you back talking about it, as well. jack, many thanks.
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let's take a look now at your saturday forecast. a peek out at new york city where it is clear, it's beautiful, with a bit of a chill in the air. nbc meteorologist dialin' dryer is here with more. good morning, dylan. >> thanks, alex, good morning. we are talking about a pretty nice day in the eastern third, and at least half of the country. we're actually looking at most of our wet weather out in the west coast. with a series of storms moving onshore. a little chilly through chicago and the northeast this morning. but most of the middle of the decree is actually going to see a nice warm-up temperatures today getting into the 60s and 70s through the plains states. 70s and 80s in florida. but still chilly up in to boston 46 degrees. it's all about the rain, though. it's moving onshore. heavy rain at that, through california. and actually a series of storms will bring days and days of rain with several inches of rain each day possible through the west coast. but look at the eastern half of the country, from the plains, all the way down into the southeast, up to the northeast, we are looking for a good deal of sunshine. but a closer look at some of the rain across san francisco,
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moving up into northern california. we will see pockets of heavy rain, and also some mountain snow. we could see several inches of mountain snow out that way through the course of the weekend, and into early next week. but across the east coast, we are going to see a lot of sunshine, temperatures topping out in the lower 50s, and then for your sunday forecast, basically a carbon copy of today, still pretty nice across the eastern half of the country, and still dealing with more heavy rains out west. alex? >> okay, dylan dreyer, many thanks for that. beating the deadline. new confidence in washington about reaching a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. also, black friday fight. what walmart is doing to head off a nationwide strike threat. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink.
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front page politics now. a new sign this morning of a potential breakthrough to avoid the fiscal cliff. congressional leaders are expressing confidence a deal can be reached soon after meeting with president obama on friday. they're hoping to avoid automatic tax increases and massive spending cuts. >> to show our seriousness, we've put revenue on the table, as long as it's accompanied by significant spending cuts. and -- and while we're going to continue to have revenue on the table, it's going to be incumbent for my colleagues to show the american people that we're serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal dilemma. >> during that meeting the president sat between house speaker john boehner and senate majority leader harry reid calling for cooperation and compromise. >> we've got to make sure that taxes don't go up on middle-class families, that our
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economy remains strong, that we're creating jobs, and that's an agenda that democrats and republicans and independents, people all across the country, share. so, our challenge is to make sure that, you know, we are able to cooperate together, work together. >> joining me now for more, congressional reporter for "the washington post" ed o'keefe and national journal correspondent nancy cook. good morning both of you. last time we saw those three together, sort of a kumbayah moment when you have reid and boehner and mcconnell together. did you get a sense, ed, putting revenue on the table meant republicans were open to tax hikes for those makes $250,000 or more? >> no, they're not. they still say they don't want to see that increase. by talking about revenues the idea is you close loopholes, find a way to perhaps limit deductions and create revenue that way. but you know, before the campaign, since the campaign, you talk to republicans on capitol hill, and they acknowledge that, you know, if
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the president were to win, if senate democrats were to hold on, you look at the exit poll numbers, it would suggest that there was a mandate, perhaps, to raise taxes on wealthier americans. and while they are standing by it right now, i think there are still many that believe if somebody's going to cave it might have to be the house republicans, and that if things are done in a certain way, perhaps it begins in the senate, and goes over to the house, and everyone is sort of putting it all on boehner to get it done, that perhaps, at that moment, there would be a way to raise taxes on the wealthy. but we'll just have to wait and see. >> nancy, i was reading an article you wrote on thursday, which is notable, you write that one of the president's top economic advisers, gene sperling, says the white house is not going to budge on that 250,000 number. then you had the meetings yesterday. is that still the case, that number? >> i feel like there is some flexibility from the administration on that 250,000 dollar threshold. although, you know, there's not -- they're not expressing that in huge overtures at this
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point. they still really want that -- to say that they want to tax the wealthy. but i do think that there is some wiggle room from them, the top economic adviser cited at least $1 trillion in revenue, which is slightly different than the $1.6 trillion that the president had been talking about. and so i think that we may see that threshold of 250 creep up a little bit. and i also think that the administration may be looking at other ways to tax the wealthy, like, capping deductions, tax deductions, or things like raising investment income taxes, which is slated to happen at the end of the year. >> what did gene sperling say on that when you talked with him, downplaying -- it seemed like he was downplaying the idea of limiting or capping the tax deductions. that that would help enough in reducing the deficit >> yes, several of the president's surrogates this week were talking about really downplaying that idea of capping deductions. that there wouldn't necessarily collect enough revenue, that they're seeking. so i think that they definitely see it as a piece of the puzzle to get to that revenue number. but perhaps not the only solution. and that's one of the things
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that republicans talk about, they want that to be one of the main solutions, rather than taxing the actual, you know, wealthy people with the tax rates. >> so, ed, doesn't that suggest both parties still have a long way to go to cut a deal? the gop wants to cap tax deductions, the white house wants a tax hike on the wealthy, so where do they meet? >> look, the kumbayah yesterday was encouraging, it was good to see, but they are still a considerable amount of work to be done. i think the fact that we at least saw them say yesterday that, you know, this could become a two-step process where you find some immediate savings to avert this fiscal cliff, perhaps set up a fiscal balcony, if you will, that would be a new carrot and stick into 2013, so that they could structurally then reform the tax system and perhaps look at fixing the entitlement programs, you know, at least they're talking. at least things are, you know, appear to be cordial. at least we know that their staffs are going to be working into thanksgiving week to start
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sorting out details so that the moment they get back the week after thanksgiving they can start looking at this and moving on it. but with now 45 days to go, you know, i think the minority leader nancy pelosi's goal of christmas is a good one. it's probably also realistic that it won't happen before then. >> what about to both of you, if, if we get the money, say we get this trillion dollars one way or another, is there a guarantee, nancy, to you first, that, that this goes to reducing the deficit? i mean, do we have that guarantee? is there any way it could be spent? >> well, i feel like the president has talked about spending some of that before on infrastructure projects, and the idea of creating jobs. but i do think that the bulk of it will go towards reducing the deficit. that's something that both parties agree really has to be tackled. and the problem is that if they don't tackle it now they'll have to tackle it down the road. so i think that this will be -- this is one of the few shared goals that they do have, taking that money to reduce it. >> you agree, ed? >> yeah, absolutely. i think you mention
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infrastructure. i mean, that is one possible spending program or stimulus-like proposal that is out there that actually has s e some -- some support on both sides. but certainly the goal here is to pay down the debt as much as possible and as quickly as possible. >> ed o'keefe, nancy cook, many thanks, you guys, for weighing in. appreciate it. twingedies, why you're saying good-bye to some of the baked goods you grew up eating. but don't talk about it to this guy. >> i'm not answering a question about -- you know, i'm on "saturday night live" enough. you think you're getting me behind this microphone having me talk about twinkies? this is a setup, man. i know it. >> he's a smart guy right there. our one-minute playback coming up on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
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now to our three big money headlines. looking to liquidate. black friday backlash and overdrive. joining me now staff writer morgan brennan. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> don't you wish everyone could have listened to what we were talking about in the commercial about hostess and twinkies. it is a serious topic when hostess brand said striking workers is what forced them to shut down yesterday. now they're seeking bankruptcy protection. what could happen to things like twinkies and the ding dongs and wonder bread, and you know, i mean part of the american landscape, really? >> yeah, i mean, as the old joke goes, twinkies might have survived doomsday but doesn't look like they can survive labor strikes. the take away number here is 18,500. that's the number of jobs that the company is looking to shed if bankruptcy court allows them. as soon as next tuesday. the company has been saddled with debt. they filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. it's the second time in a decade they've been having issues for awhile. they said the financial impact of the labor strike was just one
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thing they just could not afford to do. so that being said they're going to liquidate everything, shut down operations and they're going to sell the assets. so i think this is the end of twinkies as we know it. not necessarily. but if you like those twinkies you might want to stock up. it might be awhile since they're on shelves. >> they do stay on the shelf for a long time. let's get to labor dispute at another iconic company, walmart. the workers there are planning to walk out on black friday? but walmart's taking legal action saying that will unlawfully disrupt business. can the company do this? >> yes, the company can do this. they're filing a complaint. they filed a complaint on thursday with the national labor review board. they can do this just as walmart employees have been able to file complaints with the nlrb over the last couple of months about unsafe working conditions, and low wages, and a variety of other labor-related issues. so it remains to be seen what the board -- how the board wi will -- who they will favor. whether it will be walmart or workers before black friday. in the meantime if you are a
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consumer expect long lines and i'd expect protests. >> that target worker who asked the company not to open at 8:00 p.m. on thanksgiving, a quarter million people have signed on to a petition that she's put out there. but does that make a difference at all? i mean will target be open at 8:00 p.m. regardless? >> i think so. and target is not the only big box retailer that will. speaking of walmart, they will be open as well. there's always the possibility of brand flowback when a company does something like this on a holiday. they wouldn't do it if they didn't think it was worth it. >> yes. >> there's a lot of data out there, some of the most recent from the national retail federation that shows that consumers actually want to go in and start shopping earlier. they want to hit the sales as early as possible, so they're doing this because they think they will actually make a little more money. >> well they must be doing it for that reason. what about the good news with chrysler planning to add about 1200 more autoworks in michigan? is that an indication of an improving economy? >> there's lots of ifs on the whole improving economy as you talked about the fiscal cliff.
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that's very hopeful. there's two reasons i think so. the first is the fact that it's added jobs, and at one of the auto -- add one -- at one of the american auto companies that we saw bailed out just a few years ago the fact that there are not only just scraping by but actually starting to expand is really good news for potential workers and for taxpayers, the second reason i think this is good is because it's pickup trucks. they're expanding with ram pickup trucks. and this is very closely tied to home construction. >> home construction. >> so this is good news for retail. >> absolutely. morgan brennan, thanks. we'll see you again later today. meantime, don't talk to new jersey governor chris christie about hostess going out of business. when asked a question about it at a news conference friday, republican begged off in his usual style but he tweeted this video from his twitter account. >> seriously you're not asking me about hostess twinkies, are you? what's the next question? dave what do you got? i'm not answering a question about -- you know there's so much, i'm on "saturday night
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live" enough. you think you're getting me behind this microphone having me talk about twinkies? this is a setup, man, i know it. you people are the worst. this is a setup. i am not answering questions on twinkies. no, no, no, no, no, no. you're not -- it's bad that i even said the word twinkie from behind this microphone. you're not getting me to do that. no way. david? don't go to devil dogs, david. don't try it. ss. by earning a degree from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to make an impact in your company and take your career to an even greater place. let's get started at capella.edu. [ male announcer ] it's that time of year again. medicare open enrollment. time to compare plans and costs. you don't have to make changes. but it never hurts to see if you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. ♪
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[ garth ] thor's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day! ahh, the new fabrics. put it on my spark card. ow. [ garth ] why settle for less? the spiked heels are working. wait! [ garth ] great businesses deserve great rewards. [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? [ cheers and applause ] welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." it's time now for a look at this hour's fast five headlines. in just a few minutes the president will be leaving on a four-day, three-nation trip to southeast asia. the first top thailand, then myanmar, also known as burma. he'll be the first sitting u.s. president to visit that country. in egypt a scene of devastation at a railroad crossing after a train hit a bus caring kindergarten students. the government says 49 children are dead, 18 others hurt. back in this country, the coast guard is still searching for two oil rig workers after yesterday's explosion and fire on a platform in the gulf of
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mexico. a 20-year-old missouri man is facing charges for an admitted plot to want a shooting spree at a theater showing the new twilight movie. the man's mother contacted police after she discovered he bought weapons like the ones used in the colorado movie theater massacre. nfl great mike ditka say his doctors say he suffered a very minor stroke. ditka was playing cards yesterday when he suddenly had trouble speaking and using his hands. espn analyst says he feels good right now and it's not a big deal. and those are your fast five headlines. we have this breaking news. israel and gaza exchange rocket fire for the fourth straight day. new video from the ground in gaza shows the damage from the israeli warplanes and other missiles. the warplanes are targeting government buildings, tunnels, even power sources. this intense fighting is reaching as far away as jerusalem which has not happened in some time. let's go to tel aviv and nbc's martin fletcher. get the view from israel there. what's all the talk, martin? >> good morning, the talk here is that reserves are being
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called up, 16,000 reserves with total reports of their unit yesterday. and then last night in an emergency security council meeting they called up another 75,000 people. they gave orders to 75,000 people to be available to be called up. now that means that that's more than 100,000 army reserves could join the regular army, which is already poised on the edge of gaza for a pop ground invasion. that's what people are talking about, will israel invade. at the same time, of course, there's some shock here that the palestinians were able to launch two rockets yesterday, actually, that reached the area of jerusalem. israel's capital. for the first time as you mentioned. actually it was the first time since 1970 that jerusalem has been under that -- some kind of attack in that way. so the israelis are concerned about that. tel aviv was also hit for the second time in two days. the violence is ramping up. israel's trying to destroy the palestinian's rocket firing capability. but clearly not succeeding yet. and that raises the possibility
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that the ground invasion really may happen which, by the way, i'm sure neither israel nor hamas really wants. >> martin very quickly. understand that the israeli military is so well organized they can launch an invasion with one hour's notice? >> i'm not sure who said that but they're ready. we were on the border yesterday with israelis with the tank brigade. they're ready. we saw them clean the barrels, taking orders, last-minute preparations. yeah, they're ready. the israeli army says they're ready to invade. they're just waiting for the order. the political establishment now needs to decide what to do. how to bring this to an end. >> okay. >> quickly, through air strikes, or a ground invasion, which, of course, could be bloody and long. >> much different thing. nbc's martin fletcher. many thoongs. joining me now on that, cnbc chief washington correspondent and political writer for "the new york times" john harwood. good morning, john. >> good morning, alex. >> so we have the president trying to deescalate the conflict between israel and gaza, calling leaders at least in that region.
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but give per spikive on this for us. what kind of position does this fight put president obama in? >> well, look, president obama's larger foreign policy goal is to both secure a peace deal in the region but also improve the united states' relations with the islamic world. and the fact that you have this new government, after the arab spring, which has been the administration has seen as a success overthrowing autocrats who have been somewhat friendly like hosni mubarak, you have egypt embracing hamas, putting the united states at odds with its ally in the region israel, it makes it difficult. so every statement that we've seen from the white house about his consultations whether it's with mohamed mursi from egypt or benjamin netanyahu has the word, as you just mentioned, deescalate. they want this to be tamped down, and it is probably in israel's interest to do that, to avoid further inflaming the region. but, hamas seems to think that
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they would benefit from prolonging and es cal eighting the conflict. >> okay. >> i want to get your take on former cia director david petraeus appearing before the house and senate intelligence committee. it seems each party heard different testimony each spinning what he said about the benghazi attack. but the general suggested it was not political. so, shouldn't this lay to rest all the gop complaints? >> it should. but, you know, the level of distrust and partisan animosity and polarization is so great, that republicans have sustained the arguments that were being made at the end of the election campaign, with a remarkable degree of bitterness. john mccain really seems angry and outraged at the performance of susan rice, among others, and the obama administration, and so, harry reid sent a letter yesterday and told john mccain he is not going to get the special committee he wanted. but i think the administration
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simply is going to have to watch republicans spend their energy on this. david petraeus tried to make the argument, defending susan rice, that she was repeating talking points, that she'd been given for the reason that the administration did not want to alert terrorist groups that we knew that they were behind the attack. i'm not sure that that's going to quiet the criticism. we're just going to have to see how long it plays out. >> you saw the meeting yesterday with the president and congressional leaders on the fiscal cliff. how confident are you that a compromise will be reached in a timely fashion? >> pretty confident, actually, alex. you know, i thought the outcome of that meeting was about as positive as you could hope to see from a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders with the president of the united states, all four leaders, pelosi, mcconnell, reid, boehner, spoke positively about their prospects. about not waiting until the very end of the year to do it. john boehner laid out in that meeting a framework, a two-step process that would involve reaching a framework for the
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amount of deficit reduction, tax changes, spending changes, and then congress would fill in the blanks of that framework in early next year. i do think that because republicans to some degree why chastened by the election defeat of mitt romney and the fact that democrats gained seats in the senate are more in a mood to compromise and the president realizes that the fiscal cliff and the huge deficits are hanging over his administration and legacy, so everybody's got an incentive to compromise, especially with those tax cuts expiring at the end of the year. >> okay, john harwood as always many thanks, appreciate. in this week's office politics, former new york governor george pataki. we talked about working in bipartisan fashion during times of crisis and how he thinks fellow governor chris christie had the right approach in new jersey in the aftermath of hurricane sandy. here in the state of new york, not so much. >> i am extraordinarily disappointed in the response. it is now more than well over two weeks after the storm and there are still people who have
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no power. to me that's inexcusable. but one of the things i learned, and i had everything from ice storms to hideous floods to blizzards to hurricanes, and, of course, september 11th when i was governor, is that the important thing is while people are still at risk, not to try to figure out and point fingers of blame, but to solve the problem. >> this is going to take a huge undertaking to figure out how to put wires underground, how to build walls. i mean is that -- >> i don't think it's that hard. i really don't think it is that hard. i think it's been a failure of policy for a long time. i mean it is absurd right now, in very vulnerable areas, where decade, after decade, we have storms wipe out the entire electrical system, that we put up what was there before the storm. at enormous cost. it is just stupid, in my mind. that we don't take this opportunity, instead of rebuilding what was there, to look what we can do to make it more secure, as we go forward. because we know this is going to happen again. so let's bury the lines, let's
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have more reliable systems of transmission to get the power to places like the jersey shore. and long island. let's preposition generators at gas stations so if they lose power we're not going to have a fuel crisis as well as an electrical crisis. these are all things we know are going to happen again, and intelligent policy can protect us from. >> mm-hmm. with regard to fellow governor of new jersey chris christie, and the way he handled this storm, and many have applauded his efforts to reach beyond politics at a very crucial time and just say i'm here for the people in my state. >> at a time of crisis it's not a time for politics. it doesn't matter the politics, it doesn't matter the party, it doesn't matter the personality of the people who are working with. you are all in it together. and one of the things that really helped us get through after september 11th was that sense of unity. all of a sudden, the superficial differences that seemed to
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divide us as a people didn't mean anything. that's what leadership is about. it's not about pointing fingers during the crisis, it's not about playing politics during the crisis. it's about doing what is right to help those people in need until that crisis is over. >> i know that you are a yale bulldog. >> yes, i am. >> which means this weekend is a big football game. i -- i think you're not going to give anything, though, to the crimson harvard -- >> i go to the harvard-yale game, i try to go every year and the last eleven years have been kind of disappointing. but hope springs eternal. >> has it been eleven years? >> yale has one once out of those eleven years. >> oh. >> but yale is a better school. and it has better students and i am very confident that despite the overwhelming odds against us, we will come hopefully succeed on saturday, you know, here at chadwick i'm surrounded by all these harvard guys. >> that's got to hurt. but you have the corner office. that's all i've got to say. >> and they're always -- i'm
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always challenged in the bet on the game, and they're being harvard guys they always are reluctant to support their school. but this year they're actually coming up to me and saying, hey, pataki, would you like to bet. i still will. odds are not you try to win. >> i think you're the eternal optimist. i am the eternal optimist. >> i hope he enjoys the game today. we'll have more of our conversation today at 12:00 noon. we're going to talk about this week's excuses. governor romney offered for losing the election and two presidents who've inspired governor pataki in the way they respond to the crisis. in in a moment what were the leading ladies in the general petraeus scandal doing in the white house? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ♪
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joining me now is michael daley who's been covering the story for daily beast and "newsweek" and michael, with a good morning to you. >> good morning. >> let's talk about the nature of these visits for both jill kelly and paula broadwell, what were they about? >> i think broadwell, kind of more legitimate. i mean she does have a background in the military. she was a military intelligence officer. she served two years in the joint terrorist task force in denver so you can see there might be a reason for her to attend a meeting. >> she did attend meetings that were briefings about pakistan, afghanistan -- >> right, there's some justification for that. kelley, there's social climbers and i think she was a social mountain rooer. i think she -- and you got to admire her. she arrived in tampa where they only have social hills and she discovered the generals and the next thing you know shooz having lunch at the white house. >> she has a couple of lunches in the white house, one september 1, one october, november right before the election she gets a tour of the white house. but this was all thanks to
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what's being described as a midlevel white house aide? >> yeah, and also i don't think the word florida hurt. >> oh, yeah. >> i mean florida was a little bit important at that time. so all you had to do was say i'm from tampa, and here's a lady you might even expect to be a romney lady. she's sitting in a big mansion, having romney kind of parties going to country clubs and all of a sudden she wants to have lunch in the obama white house. i mean, why not? >> and it happens. you write about an fbi investigation, and to attendant to that that paula broadwell almost became an fbi officer herself, right? >> i'm told that she actually applied, passed a polygraph and they were ready to offer her an appointment. >> she didn't take it because harvard called? >> i don't think it went too well at harvard. she could have been an agent. must have been surreal for her to be standing in her house with fbi agents searching her house and she was just a step away from becoming an agent. >> talk about fredrick
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humphries, the fbi agent who jill kelley contacted. what's his story? >> what's interesting is that, you know, this is the time where you're not liked in the bureau or the police department or whatever, this is when they start kicking, you know, when you're down already. and no one's kicking him. i mean they still speak pretty highly of him. he was in the terrorist task force himself. up in seattle. and he was the lead agent in the millennium bombing case. >> oh, yeah. >> did a great job. and he goes down to tampa, which is like winning the lottery because they like -- >> like a country club down there. >> the fbi office there has a second floor fitness room with floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows looking over the bay. >> nice. >> and a little eating area with a screened-in porch so you can dine alfresco. >> that's campus style. >> that's what i'm saying. compared to the new york office. so he must have thought he was in heaven. and he was, you know, they have an outreach thing where you go out and talk to rich ladies, and one of the rich ladies was ms. kelley and i'm told that he
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gave her his card and said if you ever need anything, and it's amazing when you think how many fates kind of turned on that gesture. >> yeah, that is exactly what i keep thinking, the what-ifs. if one thing hadn't happened it wouldn't have led to the next. michael daly, great writing on daily beast. we'll keep following that and have you back. up next, don't go there. it's the one step in the fiscal cliff fight that the president must avoid to escape the wrath of some of his most loyal supporters. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." one, olaf gets great rewards for his small business! pizza! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! helium delivery. put it on my spark card! [ pop! ] [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve great rewards! awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great.
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q. in his new weekly address out this morning, praum discussed his meeting with congressional leaders as they work to avoid the fiscal cliff. sat down with congressional leaders to discuss how we can reduce our deficit in the way that strengthens our economy and protects our middle class. it was a constructive meeting and everyone agreed while we may have our differences we need to come together, find solutions and take action as soon as possible. joining me now is washington post staff writer zachary
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goldfarb. good morning to you you heard the president saying it was a good meeting. was anything substantive decided there? only a very small thing. which is that they're looking for a framework to find significant amount of tax and entitlement savings and find another mechanism to defuse the year-end fiscal cliff so there was very little progress. but you have to look at the music surrounding the meeting. it was very positive. this was the most bipartisan moment in arguably more after a divisive presidential campaign and i think optimism is running high and for good reason in washington. >> seems to be. on tuesday the president met with leaders from unions and liberal groups who were prepping him not to make any cuts to entitlements, medicare, social security. although we should say there are demonstrations planned this week, a couple of big ones. is it reasonable to think he can get breaks on tax increases without cuts to those programs?
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>> right. the great liberal fear right now is the president won this huge election victory, and will have to make concessions still to republicans on entitlements, social security, medicare and medicaid. and republicans say if they're going to give out tax revenues, which they're saying they will, they're going to want changes to medicare and social security. and so the big question is, will obama be able to get republicans on board without those changes? and last year during those secret talks with john boehner the president was willing to make some pretty significant changes. >> yes. >> to those programs. >> does that mean that there is room to cut in medicare and social security? >> there's certainly room to cut both in terms of savings, as well as changing sort of payment formulas, for social security. which would reduce slightly over time the benefits seniors receive. in medicare there's talk of raising the eligibility age from 65 to 76. although the new affordable care act will tax many of those seniors. so there is room to save. but liberals and seniors groups
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are very opposed to those changes and say not only is it bad for the country but it's problematic for a president who just won a big victory. >> does the president have a so-called bottom line, a red line there that he will not cross? he's made very clear taxes next year must go up on the wealthy. there's some room between what exactly that means but -- >> is he defining wealthy like $250,000 versus maybe $500,000 or a million? that was something that was tim kaine was talking about and the sliding scale there. >> more likely than the 250,000 limit which is only 2% of americans, is not raising the rates all the way up to 39.6, that clinton era raised. maybe doing it 38, 37 and also closing some deductions to make up for the lost revenue. i think changing income level is how much your taxes will go up.
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